Watch: Rahul Dravid has his say on Lionel Messi and Roger Federer
Roger Federer and Lionel Messi – arguably two of the biggest athletes to have graced their respective sports ever – have been in the news lately, but for altogether different reasons. While Messi generated a huge shock in sporting circles after announcing his retirement from international football following the 2016 Copa Centenario, Roger Federer is making all the right noises having scripted a fairytale come from behind victory over Marin Cilic to seal his spot in the semi-finals of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships.
Things have been on the up recently for the Swiss tennis legend but prior to the start of the third grand slam of the year, questions were being raised about Federer’s fitness and his ability to win a major again, considering the red-hot form Novak Djokovic has been in off-late. Even lesser known players have managed to beat Federer in recent times with many questioning why the 34-year-should continue playing and tarnish his legacy having achieved all there is to be won in the game.
Stand-up comedian Vikram Sathaye, who rose to prominence with his imitation of popular cricket players, caught up with Indian batting legend Rahul Dravid in the latest episode of ‘What The Duck’ and the present India A coach shared his views on both Federer and Messi, with regards to what the future holds for the duo.
Trying to decipher Messi’s shock retirement, Dravid said that the weight of expectations the 29-year-old has been carrying for almost single-handedly ever since making his debut had finally caught up with him, but expressed hope that Messi would do a rethink after taking a small break.
“He (Messi) bears the expectation of a legacy. He has followed in the footsteps of Diego Maradona who has been an incredible footballer for Argentina. In terms of his achievements and football skills everywhere else, he has topped Maradona, but in terms of winning trophies for Argentina, Maradona has won a World Cup and other trophies for them,” Dravid said.
“That legacy has weighed down heavily on Messi. In a team game, one player cannot be held responsible for wins and losses for his team. Messi needs other players around him. But it almost seems like Messi wants it so badly and it has just not happened. That frustration has really built up,” he added. “He is still young, he’s got to give himself another chance. Don’t play for Argentina for a year and maybe after that that he will rediscover the joy of playing for his national side.”
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As for Federer, Dravid feels that the tennis legend is clearly still in love with the game and though he might not be able to recreate the success of his yesteryears, as long as he enjoys playing the game, the cricket legend sees no reason why Federer should call it quits just yet.
“When you think of Roger Federer, you think of someone who plays the game because he loves it. He didn't start playing thinking of wanting to impress people. Sure, winning titles made him feel good, but that’s not why you start playing the game. I’m sure he is disappointed at losing matches, but he is not looking at it like other people are doing from the outside,” he said.
“The fact that he loses five or six matches doesn’t define him as a person and that’s what makes him a great champion. So it’s up to him how long he feels his body can take it to keep playing,” Dravid added.
The episode was shot before Federer’s epic comeback in the quarterfinal on Thursday and tennis fans are abuzz with excitement about the possibility of yet another Grand Slam for the living legend and from Dravid’s words, it’s clear how one great was easily able to see through another.